H. J. Cody Laker Landon Rosene managed to get away from Hunting Hills Lightning defence for one big 50 yard scamper up the middle and into the end zone with just over a minute left in the opening half. But otherwise the Lakers were contained on the snow covered field at Great Chief Park Saturday afternoon.
Aiden Smaill kicked a convert as the Lakers scored seven points in the 22-7 Central Alberta High School Football league championship loss to Lightning. This was the Lightning’s third league title in the past four years. The Lakers won the title in 2011 over Lightning.
The swift footed Rosene was the Lakers’ major ‘go to’ guy as he ran for 172 yards on 19 trips. Quarterback Skylar Selk completed six of 15 passes for 35 yards, with Trent Kondor catching two balls for 13 yards.
The opening half finished 16-7 after the Lightning scored a major and added three field goals. That score stood until midway through the fourth quarter when Hunting Hills broke through the Laker defense and scored on a run from centre field to add six points. They missed the convert.
Three minutes later, a fumble on a third down Lightning punt gave the Lakers good field position inside Hunting Hills territory but they were held and the ball turned over.
Another fumble on a Hunting Hills pass back was grabbed by the Lakers who again couldn’t capitalize.
With 31 seconds on the clock the ball was turned over to Hunting Hills and the game was finished.
“I think we exceeded a lot of expectations just getting to that game,” said coach Jeremy Braitenback. “For us to hang on showed a lot about our character.”
The Lakers were soundly beat by Hunting Hills 40-7 in their first game of the season.
“They (Lightning) made plays when they needed to and we didn’t,” conceded Braitenback.
“We didn’t stop a couple of runs that they took in for touchdowns. We didn’t make those blocks.”
“We made a couple of mistakes early in the game, got down and never recovered,” he told the Red Deer Advocate after the game. “We started better in the second half and it looked like we had a glimmer, but they (Lightning) stepped up and shut the door.”
Now, however, it’s on to the next challenge.
The Lakers’ season continues with a Tier 3 provincial quarter-final game Saturday in St. Paul at 1:30 p.m.
“We’re looking forward to that game,” said Braitenback.
Correction: A picture in last week’s paper incorrectly identified the Lakers’ #25. It should have specified he was the team’s new quarterback Skylar Selk who’s now wearing #25; not Brian Vaillancourt who wore that jersey earlier in the season.